Kerrigan served in Company D, First Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, during the Mexican-American War. After the war, he accompanied the Walker filibustering expedition to Nicaragua as a captain and served for a brief period as alcalde of the Nicaraguan capital.
Kerrigan returned to New York City and was elected alderman of the sixth ward. He also served as clerk of the Tombs police court. Upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, he organized and then was commissioned colonel of the 25th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, in the Union Army and served from May 19, 1861, until February 21, 1862.
He was elected as an Independent Democrat to the Thirty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863). After leaving Congress, he became an enthusiastic Irish Nationalist and when the invasion of Canada was planned in 1866 led a company across the border. In 1867, he commanded the vessel Erin's Hope, which landed arms and ammunition on the Irish coast. He also accompanied an expedition to Alaska in 1899 and returned in bad health. He died in Brooklyn, New York in 1899 and was buried in Saint Raymond's Cemetery.
Thomas J. Barr
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th congressional district
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